Taken in the simplest term, a sale is the transaction between a seller, a buyer, and a product or service sold. Broken down into two slightly-more advanced categories, there can be sales when the buyer seeks out the seller to get something he needs or wants, and sales where the salesperson has to elicit the interest of the buyer. This second category, where the seller must find their customers, can further be dissected. There is the type of sale where the salesperson asserts himself to the buyer and pushes the sale, and there is the salesperson who encourages the potential buyer to engage with the product or service, and make a connection with the salesperson, and ultimately, the company or the brand.
It is this final definition that is commonly known as engagement sales, or engagement marketing. This is probably the most advanced, and positive form of a sales transaction, because nothing is being pushed and no expectations are merely looking to be satisfied. Instead, there is a network between buyer, seller, and brand that reinforces one another, with companies reacting and responding to what consumers want, thereby organically improving their products or services.
Today, one cannot begin to think of a progressive sales strategy without taking into account social media. Social media is giving individuals incredible new powers to research, discuss, and engage with brands and products in novel ways that really empower the consumer. And it is no surprise that social media is perfectly suited to engagement sales, as communication is central to being engaged.
Begin a brand Twitter account. Have individual employees at the company have their own Twitter accounts as well, giving a human face to the company. Have Twitter events like question and answer periods ("AMA"s or 'ask me anything'). Have contests and where people can win products. Use crowd sourcing for customer feedback.
Create a fan page for your brand or product. Hold events and promote them on Facebook. Encourage users to ask questions or begin discussions on the homepage, where threads can be easily-followed. Have customers upload photos or other media demonstrating their engagement with products or with the brand.
This is another great tool for crowd-sourcing and AMAs, so long as the company is sincere about where they are coming from, for Reddit users (or Redditors) are very quick to suss out any corporate meddling. Reddit is also a great site for getting passive, uncensored feedback.
This picture-sharing site lets users and brands share their experience on-the-go in a visually-stunning platform. Its mobile capabilities are perfectly-integrated with Facebook (who now owns it) as well as Twitter.
Integration: this final point is critical for sales management today. Not only does a brand want all of their platforms integrated together to create a fun and networked consumer experience, but this level of integration should be at the heart of the engagement between buyer and seller. Social media can be the glue bringing together these real, virtual, and global interactions not just for the quick sale, but for the long term engagement.